How to have "the talk" with aging parents

Sooner rather than later is better to discuss crucial health and financial issues.

Deanne Gage 31 March, 2011 | 6:00PM
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You'll reach a stage in your life when it's time for "the talk." Not that talk, but the one with your aging parents. It may be awkward and scary if you've never discussed such health and financial matters with them before. Why should you bring it up? If they wanted to address anything, they would have brought it up themselves, you muse. There's plenty of time to figure things out and make the best decisions, right?

That's what Karen Henderson thought. Yes, she had many discussions with her ailing father about his financial affairs and wishes -- she even met up with his trusted advisors. Still, she had one nagging concern that she didn't address with him -- where he should live so he would be safe.

Even though he had severe arthritis in his back, he continued to live in a house with too many staircases. He ended up falling, breaking a hip and having a stroke. After surgery and rehab, his dementia got progressively worse and Henderson reluctantly moved him to a retirement home, then later, into a long-term-care facility. He died in April 2000 at 94 years of age.

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About Author

Deanne Gage

Deanne Gage  Deanne Gage is a Toronto-based writer who has specialized in personal-finance issues since 1999. A recipient of several journalism awards, including one from the Investment Funds Institute of Canada, she is also a former editor of Advisor's Edge and She can be reached at

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